San Jose, Arenal, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio National Park
Dates are customizable for private departures.
Celebrating Costa Rica’s remarkable ecological diversity, this luxurious, 8-day adventure will immerse you in a land of butterflies, birds, wilderness, and wildlife. In Costa Rica, trails meander through the ancient cloud forest, natural adventures stretch across volcanic slopes, monkeys and sloths peer from trees, and indigenous Indian communities preserve their traditions. Luxuriate in ancient landscapes and discover a natural world that has hardly changed in millions of years.
San Jose – Costa Rican Culture
After landing at the country’s main international airport, you will be transferred to an upmarket lodge on the city’s outskirts. This afternoon, you will be guided around the old city center and through suburbs of grand colonial mansions to small squares where locals gather each afternoon. You will indulge in a tour of an excellent museum that showcases pre-Columbian civilization. When the afternoon heat fades away, the locals really come out, creating a lively atmosphere in some parts of San Jose. You can grab a drink with your guide and feel this local energy before an evening of entertaining and dining at a small restaurant that is located high above the city.
Arenal – Resident Wildlife
The La Paz Waterfall Gardens will neatly break up your drive to Arenal this morning. You can choose from a variety of hiking trails and spend as long as you like with all the wildlife. Arenal will take centerstage when you arrive at your lodge. Instead of staying in La Fortuna, which is Costa Rica’s most popular destination, you will be spending two nights at a charming lodge along the volcano’s less popular, northern face. Here, you will be surrounded by pure tranquility. Hiking trails begin at your lodge, and you can walk along these without a guide if you wish. Guides are available at your lodge if you are interested in a more adventurous afternoon hike. Along the way, you will come across natural hot springs that provide a space to soothe your body and mind.
Arenal Volcano – Eco-Friendly Activities
The Arenal area is a haven for adventure, and you will have a choice of eco-activities today. Rivers rush past the old lava slopes and disappear beneath the tree line, and you can spend an afternoon white-water rafting. Arenal offers dozens of hikes, and there will be something for every level of energy and fitness. Some of these hikes are really tough, leading you into the clouds and onto rugged and rocky trails. You can also indulge in mountain biking in the area on trails that are a little rough but plenty of fun. There is also ziplining and a whole series of activities in which you can participate in a nearby forest. All these choices have a sustainable approach to tourism and maintain the ecology of the local region.
Monteverde – Preserving Indigenous Culture
This morning, you will drive to a small Maleku community. Locals will show you some of their modern farming methods, which are styles of farming that contrast with their tradition and old-world way of dress. After wandering around the village and taking a peek into how the Maleku live, you will be treated to a dance performance. The dance will be followed by lunch, and the food will be different from what you will have tried earlier on your tour. From the village, you will journey north, where the road will weave across green space and up to Monteverde. Your lodge will be nestled inside the forest and has its own gardens that are home to rare plants. After visiting a village, you may probably want to spend the rest of the day relaxing at your lodge.
Monteverde – Ancient Cloud Forest Biological Reserve
Lush colors will dominate as you indulge in a journey through the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Some sections of the walk will provide you with an open canopy view as you gaze across the treetops and listen to birds that tweet from below. It is best to have a full day in Monteverde. It is also preferable to be in the forest reserve early in the morning, so you can explore at the most mystical time and before most day-tripping visitors arrive. You can spend the afternoon exploring the reserve’s less-accessible trails. These can lead you to small research stations, where you can silently observe birds, including the famous quetzal.
Manuel Antonio National Park – Jungle Ecology
This morning, you will fly to Manuel Antonio National Park, which is a place of white beaches and forested mountains. This is Costa Rica’s smallest national park, but it contains more biodiversity than any of the others, including an incredible array of mammals. After your flight, you will transfer to a lodge that is tucked into the rainforest and overlooks the Pacific. This afternoon will be fully customizable, and you can plan activities based on your interests. You can explore the rainforest on hiking trails, including walking up to lookout points and searching for the different monkeys.
Manuel Antonio National Park – A Morning With Wildlife
The rainforest is magnificent just after dawn. Wildlife is active in these cooler morning hours, so it is the best time to be walking in the national park. After spending a full morning with Costa Rica’s wildlife, the remainder of the day will provide you with some time to rest and reflect on your eco-tour. It will be easy and quick to wander down to the beach, where thick forest casts a welcome shadow across the sand. You may want to continue your wildlife encounters, either in the forest or on the water, and this can be arranged if you feel the urge to keep exploring.
Manuel Antonio National Park – Departure
After a relaxed morning on the coast, you will travel by road back to San Jose for your flight out of Juan Santamaria International Airport.
- Experience sloths and monkeys along the vibrant jungle trails of Manuel Antonio National Park
- Immerse yourself with an indigenous Indian community and see how ecological tourism is helping to preserve their long-standing traditions
- Luxuriate in natural hot springs and soothe your muscles after an Arenal volcano adventure
- Meander through the ancient Monteverde cloud forest, which is one of the world’s oldest ecological reserves
- Experience a dazzling variety of natural biodiversity from rainforest birds to butterflies and bizarre flora
- Choose your natural adventure in Arenal, including hikes and white-water rafting
- Lay back upon magnificent Costa Rican beaches and watch the sunset over the Pacific
- Conservationist guides will show you how Costa Rica is preserving its ancient landscapes from volcanic slopes to some of the world’s most biodiverse forests
Costa Rica’s natural diversity is staggering. Tiny rainforests are home to 3% of the world’s entire biodiversity, and more than 200 bird species fly around a single cloud forest. In Costa Rica, you can roam across ancient volcanos, ascend into a world above the clouds, feel jungle enchantment, and sprawl across the sand. This eco-tour will immerse you in Costa Rica’s unique places, where rare wildlife will provide you with a charming soundtrack, and iconic landscapes will help you connect with an ancient world.
Preserving space has been essential to preserving Costa Rica’s ecology. The country has been a pioneer in keeping the wilderness wild, and a huge proportion of the land is sectioned off as national parks and private reserves. Preserving space has been integral to maintaining both wildlife and culture here. Monkeys and butterflies have a place to thrive along with indigenous Indian communities that have been preserving their own traditions for years. Space also means serenity, and in Costa Rica, you can find your own place of silence. Eco is a phrase that is readily thrown around all over Central America. An eco-sotour is not just about the ecology that you will help to preserve, but it is a rare and exclusive journey to the special places that the human world is yet to entirely penetrate.
Eco does not mean roughing it because this Costa Rican vacation is handcrafted with a selection of luxurious lodges, which are establishments that provide luxury within the country’s mesmerizing landscapes. Location is key, and you will have a perfect view over Arenal, sleep inside the cloud forest, and stay at the enthralling border between the jungle and the beach. These small-scale lodges empower local communities and help them maintain nature’s space. Local people are the gatekeepers to these lands, and during this journey, you will connect with them, including a morning with an indigenous Indian community on the Northern Plains. You will also have the opportunity to see how your visit makes a difference in keeping Costa Rica pure.
You will fly to San Jose, where you will spend the first day in Costa Rica’s capital, easing into your vacation while exploring some of the local cultures. Wildlife encounters at La Paz Waterfall Gardens will then make for a charming experience on your way to Arenal, where natural hot springs can be found in the garden of your lodge. With a day and a half in the Arenal area, you can customize a program of activities to your liking, including hiking, rafting, biking, waterfalls, and hot springs. While Arenal is Costa Rica’s most famous destination, your guide will lead you off the main trails to places of solitude, where you can experience Pura Vida at its finest.
From Arenal, it will be a short road transfer into the Monteverde cloud forest, and your lodge will be located above the clouds. On your way to Monteverde, you will meet with an Indian community to see how cultural history is being preserved through tourism. Then, after the Monteverde canopy and hiking trails, you will finish this Costa Rica eco tour in Manuel Antonio National Park. Wildlife fills the park, and you can find an eclectic array of wildlife, including different monkey species, incredibly rare birds, butterflies, and sloths.
The national park will provide adventure, especially when your guides lead you away from the main trails. Just like Monteverde and Arenal, immersion in nature also means immersion in the reposeful atmosphere. You can drift away from the modern world and feel the escapism of a Costa Rican vacation. Beaches will provide downtime, and your lodge will preserve your feeling of privacy. With Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio, you will be exploring the very best of Costa Rica. This is a vacation that is not only about the places that you will see and the biodiversity that you will help to preserve, but the feeling of escape that synonymous with the country’s Pura Vida lifestyle.
$1,435 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.
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